Thursday, April 7, 2011

Where Else Can I do Marketing?

This begins a series of articles that will cover places to do marketing. You may already be taking advantage of some. But let’s see if there are some you have not yet tried!

Chapter four in “Marketing Farm Products” ( is a whole chapter about some of these ideas with more detail on executing the more complex of them. But today let’s start with SIGNS.

Self-evident, right? Well, let’s think about places you may have overlooked!

First, what does your sign look like? Is it well designed, colorful, clever, eye catching, informative—or is it boring, bland, forgettable? Sign and logo design might be worth some professional help!

Now, do you have a sign on your farm property? On your retail space, whether that’s a booth, a table or a store? How about on bulletin boards or in windows of sympathetic businesses? Is your sign on your stationery, your give-always (like pens or coffee mugs)? Do you have clothing you can wear with your sign on it? Why not wear a T-shirt or jacket that advertises who you are and what you do? Make it a point to wear your sign as often as possible.

Are you old enough to remember the Burma Shave signs? If not, ask your parents. They were some of the best advertising ever, they made travel by car entertaining, and they are still iconic. You could resurrect the idea on the road leading to your farm or your shop or just anywhere you can get permission to put signs. And change them weekly or monthly. Think of the publicity you could get! Here is a website with archives of all the Burma Shave jingles…

Here’s one of the last they did in 1963 but they started in the 1920’s:

“Don’t lose your head
To gain a minute
You need your head
Your brains are in it.

If you’re the least bit clever with jingles, you could create a lot of good will and recognition for your farm, your products and possibly boost your sales.

The above info is not comprehensive. Tell me where you’ve put signs that I haven’t included.

The second category of marketing I want to cover today is the indirect kind. There are many opportunities within your community, your social world, your professional life where you can increase your exposure. Sometimes it’s just about making sure everyone knows what you do what you sell or what your business provides. Ever heard of an elevator speech? It’s a short paragraph you can naturally say to anyone—for instance in an elevator ride—that peeks their interest and makes them say, “Oh, yes, could I have your card?” Develop your own elevator speech. And don’t forget marketing’s first principle. It’s not about you! Tell them how their life gets better with what you have for sale. Not, “We raise _______________.” But “We give people better health (spinning experience, exciting family experiences…what is it you do that they’re hoping for, anyway).

Other indirect marketing is about the things you do FOR your community. Do you volunteer? Of course, when you do, you wear that T-shirt with your farm info, right? Can you sponsor some activity or event or a publication? Sponsors usually get some PR for doing so. Can you give funny or informative speeches at schools or business functions? Do you have some expertise you can share-- as in teaching a class? What about writing skills? There are many possibilities for writing articles, how-to’s, exposés, travelogues, diaries, blogs and many others. Some of that might actually bring in income, but of course a lot will be just for the exposure. You’re allowed to give a plug for yourself as long as it’s not too overdone. It gets you noticed; it gets you PR points!

I bet I’ve written 20 free articles for each one that I got paid for, but it all builds up your level of credibility. And you might be surprised to find that often you can actually sell an article that will help you market your farm and farm business – because you’re an expert.

My friend Anne Wayman blogs almost daily about freelance writing at ( You’ll find tips about finding writing markets, handling the business site of writing and the how-to of writing both for the web and blogs and for print.

Work with a business in your town to write a short pamphlet about some subject that their customers need to know. What about a real estate check list for the RE agents to hand out to those looking at rural property. How about a pamphlet on goat, horse, alpaca or other care for your Vet to hand out? Ask other businesses what info they wish their customers had easy access to. What about other subjects you’re knowledgeable about and others need to know?

Successful businesses are those who think creatively about what and where to do marketing. Don’t limit yourself and your business. More next time!

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